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Guatemala Border Crossings

Guatemala shares one border crossing with Belize, and several with Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador. To enter Guatemala you will need a passport valid for six months after the date of arrival, and you will have to fill out a few immigration and customs forms. Although there are no fees to enter the country—depending on which border you cross and who stamps your passport—you may be asked to pay unofficial fees anywhere up to $20. Always ask for a receipt, in which case your fee may be magically dropped. A proper receipt will always have the Guatemalan emblem on it. When in doubt, observe what other travelers are paying in front of you.

Border crossing should only be done during daylight hours, so try to allow plenty of time for border formalities as well as transport to a major town on the other side before dark. Many border posts are closed for lunch and some cease operations as early as 6 p.m.

From Belize, the only major border crossing to Guatemala is at Melchor de Mencos. Many buses service the popular route between Belize City and Flores, a short 4-5 hour drive.

The main crossing point from Mexico to Guatemala is in Ciudad Hidalgo, near Tapachula. There is also a crossing on the Pan-American Highway at Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, which sits between Comitán, Mexico and Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Both these routes are well traversed by buses, which have a frequent service to nearby cities in both countries.

There are three main border crossings between Honduras and Guatemala, all of which are well-paved. The first is at El Florido, between Chiquimula, Guatemala and Copán Ruinas, Honduras. Another is Agua Cliente, between Esquipulas, Guatemala and Nueva Ocotepeque, Honduras. Finally, there is also a crossing at the Caribbean town of Corinto, between Puerto Barrios Guatemala and Omoa, Honduras. Buses run frequently between the main Honduras cities to Guatemala City and Antigua.

El Salvador and Guatemala share many borders at all the main highways. On the Pan-American Highway (CA-1) there is a crossing at San CristĂłbal. From Highway CA-8, there is a crossing between La Chinamas, El Salvador and Valle Nuevo, Guatemala. A third crossing point is between La Hachadura, El Salvador and Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado on the Pacific Coast Highway (CA-2). Finally, on Highway CA-10 there is a crossing at Anguiatu.

If crossing into Guatemala by car, be prepared for the mountain of paperwork that goes along with bringing an automobile into the country. You will need a current registration and a valid drivers license or an International Driving Permit (IDP), which can be issued by automobile associations such as AAA. You will also need to have proof of vehicle ownership on hand. If the car is not yours, you will need to get a notarized letter allowing possession of the vehicle from its owner.

At the border, you will receive a temporary import permit that is valid for a maximum of 30 days. The permit is free, so don't be fooled by backwards border officials who might try to tell you otherwise. You may have to pay a fumigation fee to have your car sprayed at the border. Additionally, you will have to purchase insurance locally because Guatemala does not recognize foreign insurance. This can be done at the border post, but remember to ask for a receipt. Finally, Guatemalan law says travelers must exit the country in the same vehicle used to enter.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Guatemala: Transportation Overview, Border crossing with Belize, Border Crossing With Honduras , Border crossing with Mexico, Border Crossings Between Guatemala And Mexico, Rio Lámpara Getting To And Away, Border Crossing With El Salvador At Ciudad Pedro De Alvarado and Getting Around/ To And Away.

20 Jul 2010

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